Fall came suddenly around here– we’ve got some warm Santa Ana days this week, but there’s still a chill in the air that is distinctly autumnish.

And with it? The first rounds of colds hit our family. Already? I thought, Maybe we’ll get it now and then be healthy the rest of the season! That would be nice, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

Instead, I’m getting prepped… I won’t just take a cold lying down. Literally, because as a mom of three little ones, I get little time to lay down and rest during the week. I have to fight, fight, fight until my symptoms subside.

There are so many great homeopathic remedies out there, many of which I’ve tried and many about which I’m still learning. But this time around, something hit me that I hadn’t thought about before as a defense against this virus:

avoiding sugar.

A Good Reason to Kick the Refined Sugar Habit

There are many reasons to give up refined sugar, not the least of which is that it is addicting and not at all nourishing for our bodies. It is in fact totally devoid of nourishment: refined sugar and H.F.C.S. don’t come with any protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants or fiber (source). Just read this inspiring story about how much better Jennifer felt when she gave it up completely!

When we are sick is when we need to make every bite we eat pack a nutritional, nourishing punch, and that also means choosing foods and drinks that make us feel good, too. Just like most of us stick to the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet when something’s going on in the tummy, I’ve been avoiding too much dairy this past week to help my stuffiness (this is torture for me, but that’s a separate topic!).

If I know that sugar is going to just feed my virus, in a sense, that makes it easier to turn the other cheek when that carmel latte is calling my name.

There is talk about whether sugar actually suppresses the immune system, which is not something I want to chance during cold/flu season. How exactly do some think this happens?  “Refined sugar can reduce the action of leukocytes (or white blood cells) whose job it is to fight infection (levels of leukocytes rise when we have an infection)” (source).

It definitely causes inflammation which is also not something I want going on in my body when I’m trying to fight something off.

Photo by kthread

Help! I’m a Total Sweet Tooth!

You’re not alone. So am I! I’m constantly trying to limit my sugar intake with new alternatives to refined white sugar and H.F.C.S, such as maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and most recently coconut palm sugar. These alternatives are less processed in many cases and often lower on the glycemic index. But the truth is, they are still sugar, in fact, so is fruit!

So when I’m feeling under the weather, I just try to be more aware. I won’t say I’ve had no sugar in the last week, but I’ve had a lot less and I think that has attributed to my fighting this cold pretty effectively. I just fight that urge, that addiction, with my ol’ iron will as much as I can.

And when I do need something sweet? I stick to raw honey. Because at least I know I’m getting some nutrition that will help fight against my cold symptoms with that. I love baking with honey, and raw honey in a cup of rooibos tea (decaffinated and full of antioxidants) or spread on toast is total comfort food when I’m sick.

Do you notice sugar impeding your health? Do you avoid sugar? All the time? When you’re sick?